White House to stay mum on Katrina

Jan. 25, 2006 at 8:12 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The Bush administration is refusing to allow staff to testify on the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, citing concern for confidentiality.

Deputy White House spokesman Trent Duffy, said the administration had declined requests to provide sworn testimony to two congressional committees by Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff; Card's deputy, Joe Hagin; Frances Fragos Townsend, the domestic security adviser; and her deputy, Ken Rapuano.

"The White House and the administration are cooperating with both the House and Senate," Duffy said. "But we have also maintained the president's ability to get advice and have conversations with his top advisers that remain confidential."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said at Tuesday's hearing of the Senate committee investigating the response he would ask for a subpoena for documents and testimony if the White House did not comply, The New York Times said.

The Aug. 29 storm devastated the Gulf Coast, and thousands of evacuees remain in hotels around the country at government expense.

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